Covell Village

InfoInfo
Search:    
Location
Northeast corner of F Street and Covell Blvd.

field.jpgSome of the farmland where Covell Village is slated to go. covell_site_plan.pngThe revised Covell Village site plan (photo © City of Davis).

Also see:
Cannery Park

In July of 2004, the city council voted to approve the Covell Village development proposal, to annex a ~400 acre plot north of Covell Blvd., between Pole Line Road and F Street, into the City and rezone it from agricultural land into residential and commercial sites. The development planned to add 1884 living units to Davis in phases through 2017 or later.

The development required a Measure J vote by the community as the land was outside the Davis city limits. Measure J requires a citizen vote on any project that requires annexation of agricultural land into the City. The baseline could not change without another vote by the people. However, changes outside of the scope of the baseline may occur without a vote, with approval from the City of Davis Planning Department or City Council. The Covell Village measure was called Measure X, it failed to pass with "No" 58.7% and 41.3% "Yes."

For specifics of the project, see also City of Davis [WWW]Summary of Baseline as well as the [WWW]actual baseline that were on the ballot.

Pro Argument

yes_on_x_poster.jpgA pro-Covell Village yard poster.

Covell Village was designed by Michael Corbett, who also designed the Village Homes

Supporters of Covell Village say that the project will meet some of the growth that Davis is required to meet in slow, planned, environmentally-friendly manner. The project was developed over 10 years, hand-in-hand with the City of Davis. The partners and planners are respected long-time Davis locals, including Citizens of the year. It is innovatively designed to avoid the kind of sprawl we've seen in the valley due to bad planning. The project is surrounded by the City of Davis on 3 sides (see last page of the following booklet for an aerial photo [WWW]http://www.covellvillage.com/factsheets/Booklet.pdf)

Covell Village is in line with Davis culture, and it adds a tremendous amount to the community. The Davis Enterprise has endorsed the project, saying"amenities are so valuable and so wide-ranging that we believe Covell Village will have a profoundly positive impact on our community's quality of life." Amenities of the proposed plan include solar panels on every home, a retail center, a new fire station, an 82-acre educational organic farm, a community recreation building, a performing arts outdoor amphitheater and sites for the school district, a Rotary Hall, Yolo Hospice, Davis Parent Nursery School, and 124 acre wetland wildlife habitat, 8 miles of bikepaths, and a 776 acre farmland buffer that can never be developed. In addition, 48% of the housing units will have a price restriction. The Enterprise editorial states "Covell Village comes as close as we believe possible to providing the kind of workforce housing our community has been clamoring for. The mix of housing types and sizes offers opportunities for all: singles, couples, young families, growing families, empty-nesters, retirees, the elderly."

Community leaders believe that this project will acheive worldwide acclaim for its new-urbanist plan and its environmental aspects. They also warn that this may be the last time a project of this immense value is offered to the city. One observer asked, "Who in their right mind would try to go through this process, considering the millions of dollars necessary, if Davis votes such a great project down?" Instead, out-of-town developers will surely bypass the City and go straight to the County, which can approve a project on our borders with 3 votes. Helen Thompson, Yolo County Supervisor for Davis, warns of this possibility. Sacramento developer Steve Gidaro, who has a history of illegally funding elections, has been pushing for an 800-acre development called Mace-Curve that jets out of the outskirts of Davis, and is truely "sprawl". (Get more information on Steve Gidaro at [WWW]http://www.gidaroelectionwatch.org/)

Con Argument

no_on_x_poster.jpgAn anti-Covell Village yard poster.

In approving the project for the November ballot, the Council majority disregarded the concerns of its advisory commissions. The Finance and Budget, Planning, and Open Space Commissions could not support the project. In making its decision, the Council ignored key environmental findings and contradictions in the fiscal analysis that identified serious financial risks for the city, a failure to provide promised affordable housing, and traffic and other infrastructure impacts.

The Commissions studied the analyses. The contrast between their advice and the Council’s push to develop is troubling—and underscores the Council’s failure to respect the citizens’ vision for Davis.

Costs

Covell Village would cost the City money. The Finance and Budget Commission rejected the project, citing the “magnitude of the risk that this project poses to the City Council’s goal of fiscal stability.” Because Covell Village would require annexation, the City would get 30% less property tax than if it developed parcels within the city limits like Hunt -Wesson. Recently, the County has made it clear it wants an even greater share of the project’s property tax, and won’t approve the annexation unless the new arrangement is to its liking. Each 1% increase in the County’s share will cost the City an extra $3 million annually—making Covell Village an even greater tax burden.

In addition, the City’s fiscal analysis assumes home prices will double over the next 15 years. If housing prices level off or decline as many economists predict, Covell Village would generate huge deficits for the City.

Finally, the impact fees charged to the developers do not address infrastructure needs likely to be triggered by Covell Village, such as the widening of roads or that the subdivision would contribute significantly to the premature exhaustion of the capacity of our wastewater treatment plant. Public Works has stated that expansion of the plant would cost at least $100 million over and above water quality improvement costs.

covellprices.jpgPrices and build-out schedule from City's [WWW]fiscal analysis.

Unaffordable Housing

The developers’ illusory promise of affordable housing is equally disturbing. The original rationale for Covell Village was to provide “workforce” housing for our teachers, firefighters, new UCD faculty and staff, Davis renters wishing to buy—and our children. Instead, housing will be largely unaffordable to these and similar target groups. Although the developers claim that 2/3 of the subdivision will be affordable, city projections indicate the average for-sale house will cost $683,945.

The City’s analysis indicates that “middle-income” families (those making less than $96,000 a year) cannot afford housing costing more than $387,000. Yet 92% of the for-sale houses in the subdivision will cost more than $400,000. The least expensive single-family detached house will cost $538,000.

In other words, of the 1,294 for-sale units proposed only 99 are affordable, according to City criteria. This means only 10 affordable for-sale units per year, primarily townhouses, versus 120 upper-end units constructed annually.

Traffic, safety and health

The negative impacts of Covell Village go well beyond dollar calculations; according to the City’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR), we will all be spending a lot more time in traffic. The subdivision will double traffic on Covell to 39,440 cars /day and on Pole Line to 26,900 cars/day, and use up 97% of the capacity on the Mace Overcrossing. The analysis finds that Level of Service “F” results, triggering “high delays, high volumes and extensive queuing” on many streets and intersections including L Street, Moore and the Pole Line Overcrossing to South Davis. According to the EIR, “Conditions are intolerable for most drivers,” with traffic backing up on neighborhood streets, causing all the associated safety and pollution issues for children, seniors and those with respiratory conditions.

In addition, Woodland is building the 4,000 unit Spring Lake subdivision, just 5 minutes north on Pole Line Road. Spring Lake by itself will have a serious negative impact on traffic along Pole Line and Covell.

Alternatives

Opposition to the Covell Village subdivision does not equate with a “no change” or “no growth” philosophy. Covell Village is not inevitable; we have alternatives.

Proponents want us to believe that if we don’t approve the project, we will get something worse. However, in Davis voters have the final say on any Council approved peripheral projects. As for the County approving development on its own without our input, the fear is unfounded—for two reasons. First, under the terms of a recently revised agreement with the County, City approval is required for development on our borders; for this veto power we give the County a share of our property tax revenue. This “pass-through” agreement runs for another 20 years. Withdrawing from the agreement would cost the County millions in guaranteed revenues.

Second, to be feasible, urban-scale development in the County would require use of the City’s sewer system, wastewater treatment facility, and other city utilities—we would have to agree.

Instead of Covell Village, Davis can choose change on a more manageable scale—change that will allow us to augment our diversity by building truly affordable housing without undermining city finances and services or our quality of life. The 100-acre site of the old Hunt-Wesson Cannery and the 27-acre PG&E site at 5th and L are prime candidates for redevelopment. The PG&E site, for example, is within walking distance of the downtown and the S.P. Depot.

Rather than respect the legacy created by citizens and councils over the last three decades and reflected in our General Plan—of Davis as a small, safe, neighborhood-oriented community—this Council majority has chosen sprawl instead.

By saying “no” to a large peripheral subdivision at this time, voters will be affirming the Davis they love and envision. They will be reminding the Council of the value of sustainable city financing, affordable housing, farmland preservation, and sensible traffic and infrastructure planning.

Pro Argument vs. Con Argument

Endorsements

Pro-Covell Village endorsements: [WWW]endorsement list (Includes the Davis Enterprise and The Sacramento Bee)

Con-Covell Village endorsements: opposed by the Sierra Club and others ([WWW]Includes The California Aggie)

Threat of future development

Pro-Argument

A letter from Helen Thompson, Davis's Yolo County Supervisor, warns that if Davis does not meet the growth requirements from the State, 3 votes from the County Board of Supervisors could approve a development on our borders. Currently, a development this is much larger than Covell Village has been proposed, that would jet out on the border of Davis, called Mace Curve. In this case, the citizens of Davis would not be able to vote on its future, and would give up all of the additional benefits and innovative planning that Covell Village would bring to the city. Helen claims that a "no on X" vote would allow "Sacramento developers to decide how Davis grows."

Con-Argument

Contrary to Helen Thompson’s assertion, if Covell Village is not approved, other developments will not built on our borders. This is a myth and simply untrue. Measure J prohibits peripheral growth without a vote of the public. Additionally, the "Pass through Agreement" between Yolo County and the City of Davis prevents this scenario. In summary the agreement states that Yolo County has agreed not to unilaterally approve growth on the borders of Davis. The County can choose to vote to void the agreement and give up the million plus it receives from the City. However, no subdivision can be built without the City of Davis' cooperation to provide utilities and city services such as sewage treatment and water. Davis can refuse to allow access to city water and sewer services, which the County cannot afford to provide alone. In addition, three Yolo County Supervisors have given their assurances that they will not vote for development on the fringes of Davis.

10/30/2005 - Yolo County Supervisors, Duane Chamberlain and Mariko Yamada ran a full page ad in the Davis Enterprise. In an open letter to Davis citizens, they assured the Davis Community the senario that Helen Thompson describes is unlikely. The County cannot afford to forfeit the millions of dollars that the City pays to the County per the "Pass Through Agreement", Guidaro's project has received a "Level C" ranking and has been halted and won't even be considered for years, and the longstanding commitment and track record that Yolo County Supervisors for farmland preservation. They went on to urge citizens to vote "based on facts, not fear.

Covell Village partners, Guidaro and other developers can always try to go to the County for approval of their projects on the edge of Davis over the protests of the Davis community. They need three votes in their favor along with the Counties commitment to provide utilities and public safety services. The City needs to support its representatives (Helen Thompson & Mariko Yamada) to stave off these threats and hold the line. Most likely other Supervisors will not want a precident set that will affect planning issues for their own regions and cities. Eventually, these developments may happen and will be the subject of much debate when the City develops its General Plan for the years after 2010 and the County completes its General Plan update. Each of these steps will take years (Go to www.yolocounty.org Board Agendas and Minutes for April 5 and 26, 2005 to see for yourself.)

Future Development

Pro Argument

The passthrough agreement is money that the City of Davis pays the county on a yearly basis, basically to bribe them not to approve another Sacramento-type project on our borders — BUT an out of town developer can easily offer the county double, triple, or more. If Davis is considered to be too elitest to accept a great plan with an extremely slow rate of grown (less than 1%), the county will be much more likely to take the better offer. In addition, there is an election for new Board of Supervisors next year; nobody can guarantee that future Supervisors whose own communitites are taking all the growth won't vote for Davis to take a bit of its share. The Covell Village land will probably be sold to an out of town developer if this does not pass. A project as special as Covell Village will never be offered to Davis again.

Con-Argument

The pass-through agreement between the County and the City is not a bribe. I think that Council members and County Supervisors who created the agreement would find this statement defametory. Covell Village, Guidero and others can offer double, triple or more, but then these would be a true bribes, wouldn't it? If this is truely an issue, don't you know that with the next County Supervisor election the citizens will be questioning candidates closely about their committment to preserving ag land in Yolo County and allowing cities to choose their own destiny in terms of growth. Davis has been a slow-growth community for many decades. This is nothing new.

Solar Housing

Pro-Argument

According to solar-energy expert Tobin Booth, Covell Village will generate at least twice as much solar electricity as any solar neighborhood in the nation existing today, doubling the previous record for solar-powered homes.There will be a minimum one-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system on every single-family home in Covell Village to provide electric power to residents. Power generated by photovoltaic panels will supply each single-family home with an average of 30% of the electricity it requires. Homeowners will have the option of adding more photovoltaic panels to their home, so the percentage will be higher than 30% in some cases; owners of affordable units will be able to add additional panels that won't count against the home price limits. The total solar energy production at Covell Village will be at least 2.04 million kilowatt hours annually. Every year, it would take 4,278,000 pounds of coal to produce that much power. The most expensive part about solar is the infrastructure- something built in to the housing development. People wanting more solar would just need to add panels.

Con-Argument

The proposed solar units are only a fraction of the average-sized units already in Davis and are not to be included on commercial or apartments. Advocates for solar power, such as Covell Village is slated to have, ignore the price of solar panels, solar panel replacement schedules, and the effect on property values that the liens associated with the panels may have.

Affordable Housing

Pro-Argument

Davis has one of the country's leading affordable housing programs. Covell Village meets and exceeds these requirements. 286 - Multi-Family, 64 - CO-OPs, 43 - Non-profit apartments, 63 - Mutual housing, 144 - Town House residences starting at $198,000 (average $267,000), 30 - Co-housing residences., (average price $395,000), 400 Middle Income Residences - Tier 1 - 100 starting at $325,000 (average price $341,000), Tier 2 - 100 starting at $377,000 (average price $404,000), Tier 3 - 100 starting at $426,000 (average price $463,000), Tier 4 - 100 starting at $506,000 (average price $591,000)

Covell Village meets all smart growth principles. o Mixed use o Design discourages automobile use and promotes walking, cycling o Community design encourages more physical activity, community socialization thus overall better health. o Distinct and aesthetic design, manifests a desired sense of place and purpose o Preservation of open space and agricultural land as well as wildlife habitat o Provides a variety of transportation choices o Usability and aesthetics are mutually compatible

Con Argument

Opponents note that the new homes would be priced prohibitively high and that the local infrastructure would be unable to support the rapid development plan.

The City posts different expected prices for houses in different places. A chart of costs is here:

[WWW]http://www.city.davis.ca.us/covell/pdfs/CV_Chart_of_housing_types_and_costs.pdf

But much higher numbers were used to determine how much revenue the project would generate — see page 7 of the fiscal analysis:

[WWW]http://www.city.davis.ca.us/covell/pdfs/Covell_Fiscal_Model_5-9-05.pdf

According to the fiscal analysis, if house prices in Covell Village are not at least twice as high as current 2005 levels by the end of the project, the City will lose money.

The City's [WWW]middle income housing report suggests that a "middle-income" family can afford no more than $387,000 for a home.

Traffic

Pro-Argument

There are no Level F intersections considering the cumulative effects of Davis and Woodland. At build-out, 12 years from now in 2017, Covell Village will put only 1 more car on the road citywide for every 15 now and Pole Line Rd. and Covell Blvd., 2 more cars for every 8 now. This does not approach gridlock.

Response: Here are the directly quoted facts from the actual Covell Village EIR Report: [WWW]http://www.cityofdavis.org/covell/pdfs/eir/appendix_A.pdf GRADE F ROADWAYS AT COVELL VILLAGE COMPLETION: • Covell Boulevard, F Street to J Street • Covell Boulevard, J Street to L Street • Covell Boulevard, L Street to Pole Line Road • Pole Line Road, north of Covell Boulevard • Pole Line Road, I-80 Overcrossing • Pole Line Road, Loyola to Eighth Street • Pole Line Road, Covell Boulevard to Loyola Drive

Traffic count for Covell and Pole Line is currently: 19,700, it will grow to 39,440. (According to the EIR - Page 17 of the above Link)

The above stats about 1 more car are simply false.

Con-Argument

Level “F” Traffic

Infrastructure Costs

Pro-Argument

Covell Village will pay for all of its own infrastructure. In addition it will provide a $4.2 Million Fire Station, donate $470,000 for fire trucks and a police vehicle, donate $12.1 million for city public safety operating costs, donate $2.75 million for city community center building, acquire and donate Nugget Fields to the City, donate 776 acres of agricultural easements to the City. Provide $24 million in development fees and construction taxes for citywide projects. 60 Million from Covell Village contributions and taxes will go to the school district for new school facilities

Flooding

Pro-Argument

Covell Village has no flood threat. As with much of Davis, when the streets and lots are graded and the natural habitat ponds and natural corridor are built, the drainage condition no longer exists. This is clearly stated in both the EIR and development agreement.

Finance

Pro Argument

Paul Navazio, City of Davis Finance Director said, "Covell Village will produce a positive cash flow on the avg. of $464,388 per year. In addition, the libraries will receive $90,000 a year."

Instead of 15.33%, the city will get 17.48% of all Covell Village property taxes. According to City Councilmember Don Saylor, the City can expect to see a residual of about $3.6 million over 15 years. The agreement also requires the Covell Village partners to donate up to $500,000 of matching funds for the South Davis Library, a 7,000 square foot site for a mental health group home in the Village Center, and a Village Center site to Davis Community Television, suitable for the construction of a two-story, 10,000 square foot Media Center. Measure X also guarantees that the Covell Village partners will purchase the district-owned parcel of land in Wildhorse, Nugget Soccer Fields, for $4.2 million, and then donate the fields to the City for permanent recreational use. Under the agreement, sports groups will continue to take care of field maintenance. The school district projects that new revenues from Community Facilities Districts will total $59,286,000.

Schools

Pro-Argument

Measure X guarantees that the Covell Village partners will donate to the school district $1 million and ten acres of land, in a prime location. The development will fully mitigate all school impacts. At the present time, the school district is anticipating that the site may be needed for a Davis High School satellite campus.

Con-Argument

"$60 million for schools" is clearly designed to give the impression the developers are making a gift to the schools. In truth, the money would come from taxes levied on Covell Village homes. Not one dime is for existing students, teachers or programs.

Growth Alternatives

Pro-Argument

The old Hunt-Wesson site cannot be developed without Covell Village to solve access and drainage problems. PG&E has not shown interest in developing their site on L St. and the site does not have the capacity to provide more than two years housing supply. The 500-acre Mace Gateway project proposed by Steve Gidaro whether built in the County or the City, does not reach the standards of design set by Covell Village. Gidaro's project plus all the other development sites around Davis are not infill.

Sierra Club

Pro-Argument

Sierra club said The Environmental Council of Sacramento called project “Sprawl” Not True "The Environmental Council of Sacramento" (ECOS) sent a letter to the Davis Enterprise stating that the Sierra Club's accusations were “Unfounded.” The country's leading New Urbanist Andreas Duany said, " The Covell Village plan is as good as it gets." Head of SACOG Mike McKeever said, "Covell Village meets SACOG's goals for smart growth." Covell Village meets the Sierra Clubs own smart growth guidelines.

Con Argument

The Sierra Club (both local and regional chapters) opposes Covell Village because it is "too big and it violates environmentally-friendly development guidelines." The Management Committee of the Sierra Club Yolano Group has voted to oppose the Covell Village proposal. In the past months the Yolano Group has hosted four publicly announced meetings to solicit input from membership and the community. There was overwhelming opposition to the project among members of the public who attended the meetings. After considering public input and relevant documents, the Management Committee determined that Covell Village would impose too many adverse impacts on our community and the environment. In approving the project, the City Council disregarded the recommendations of six of its commissions, including the Planning Commission and the Finance and Budget Commissions, which studied the issues and could not support the proposal. The Council ignored key environmental findings and serious financial risks for the city. City documents also show that the project would fail to provide promised affordable housing while generating serious traffic impacts and infrastructure and operational costs.

Trader Joes

Pro-Argument

Trader Joes has inked an agreement with Covell Village. If measure X passes, a Trader Joes will be built, probably across the street from Nugget. See Davis Enterprise [WWW]http://davisenterprise.com/articles/2005/10/07/news/086new1.txt,

Con-Argument

Trader Joes was already in negotions with two locations in Davis. Alhambra Center at Mace & Alhambra which has not yet been approved and with the Interland/South Davis Center which has been approved and is nearing construction. To state that the only way Davis will get a Trader Joe's is to approve CV is simply false.

City Commissions

Pro Argument

Important Note: The City commissions did not disapprove Covell Village they all stated they needed more time to review the project.

Con Argument

The City of Davis Planning Commission did not vote to endorse the development due to concerns about over-burdening the city's water system and waste water treatment plant. The City of Davis Finance and Budget Commission voted against the development due to strong concerns about "financial risk" to the City budget.

Infrastructure

Pro-Argument

Will Covell Village overburden our sewage system? No. According to City Engineer Pat Fitzsimmons, Davis' wastewater treatment plant has the capacity to accommodate Covell Village. Fitzsimmons estimates that even after Covell Village is completely occupied, the plant will still have capacity for the wastewater generated by an additional 8,000 people.

"The long and short of it is there is the capacity for Covell Village and there is capacity for the General Plan build-out, and then some," said Fitzsimmons. Davis' plant capacity is 7.5 million gallons per day, and today the city generates 6.25 million gallons per day. Covell Village will add only .46 million gallons per day upon completion, leaving capacity for .79 million gallons per day.

The Jagged Tree will be saved and located in a park within Covell Village. If you look at the map of Covell Village the jagged tree will remain in it's same location and a circular park will be built around it just north of the town center. Many other oak trees on the site will be saved as well.

Other Con - Arguments

People have claimed that there could never be a better project proposed. Please look at the contributions made to the city of Livermore by a a development called Livermore Trails: [WWW]http://livermoretrails.com/about_livermoretrails_questions.htm It dwarfs the bonuses that Covell Village is offering.

Mike Corbett is not a financial partner in Covell Village. He is an employee hired in a planning capacity. The Covell Village investors are building Covell Village. However well meaning his intentions, the actually implementation of the subdivisions features ultimately rest with the full partners of Covell Village Company not Mike Corbett. There is no assurance that Covell Village will look like Village Homes if Mike Corbett is involved. In addition to Village Homes Mike Corbett helped plan a few other neighborhoods in Davis. These neighborhoods look nothing like Village Homes. The "buck stops" with a handful of Covell Village investors not Mr. Corbett. Davis voters should beware that Covell Village represents another compromise on the original Village Homes concept.

Bad for the Environment

Higher Crime

The Sierra Club (both local and regional chapters) opposes Covell Village because it is "too big and it violates environmentally-friendly development guidelines."

soilmap1.jpgSoil map of the prospective site. Soils with an Irrigated Land Capability Class of 1 are highlighted in red.

The conversion of the farmland to residential at this specific site is special in that it involves paving over some of the most productive soils in the nation. The [WWW]Yolo and [WWW]Brentwood soils are ranked as [WWW]class 1 in the [WWW]Land Capability Class system for irrigated agriculture. These soils are highly regarded by land users for an ideal high water holding capacity, nutrient supply, and good [wikipedia]tilth. The soils map illustrates the areal extent of class one soils (red polygons) at the proposed location of Covell Village. While not nearly as productive, the other soils within the proposed development may be of interest to any potential home gardeners, as they can have high salt levels and clay pans at depth (See map symbols Pb and Rg).

More con-information

Other sources

Related pages



A discussion about the content of this page can be found on the talk page.

Comments:

Note: You must be logged in to add comments

2005-06-08 19:23:59   homes in davis are overpriced as it is. —RohiniJasavala


2005-06-09 20:30:44   You'd think that a college town would be proposing housing affordable to college students. For some reason, this isn't the case. —ChristopherMckenzie


2005-06-27 16:56:49   This development is not intended for student housing. It is supposed to be a solution for work-force housing, assuming that West Village will handle student growth. —SharlaDaly


2005-07-17 02:21:13   If they DO go out full fledged with this Village, they better re-arrange their blueprints and dedicate a park to The Jagged Tree!! That park, if made cool enough and preserved the tree, could be on par with Slide Hill! —AndreHarris


I like historic artifacts, and I think a society should do what it can to preserve the best of what we do, but they should then bury the rest and build something new on top of the ruins. Lets save future acheology jobs. That way, you don't have to sprawl the settlements outward. Sure, there will always be people who want the wild wild west home in East, West, North (though shrinking), and South of Davis, but I bet a whole bunch of people would happily live in "high" rises downtown. If you are going to call yourself a city, act like one and build up. Leave the damn owls and farmers at peace. Wayne Schiller


2005-09-19 15:24:40   I'm a reporter for the Davis Enterprise doing a series of stories on Covell Village. If anyone who visits this page wants to buy a house in Davis, or is hoping Covell Village passes in November so they can buy a house there or has any thoughts at all on Covell Village that they'd like to share, please write to me at <cstjohn AT davisenterprise DOT net>. Is it okay to solicit here? Anyway, I'd like to have the voices of real residents in my articles, as well as City Council, etc. Thanks. —ClaireStJohn


2005-09-20 13:54:51   Outside of the overly-high prices, I think the biggest issue here is going to be traffic. There's no easy way to get on the 80 going West from that location. Either you take Covell west to the 113, or you take Pole Line south, and then double back on Richards. Either way, that's going to seriously impact the area traffic-wise. Me = voting no. —AlexPomeranz


2005-10-06 12:22:51   I had a pro-Covell Village door-to-door propagandaist drop by my house last night. He asked me if I was voting for or against Covell Village. I told him against. He asked why, and I bought up the traffic concerns. He tried to rebut, but really had nothing, so he left. I find it kind of sad that they've resorted to canvassing the streets. Someone obviously stands to make a lot of money (and it ain't me). —AlexPomeranz


2005-10-06 14:26:19   Not sure where to integrate this right now: Approximately 180 units will be dedicated for low income (less than $48,000 a year) housing, as [WWW]recently decided by the City Council. They will be "64 cooperative units, 63 municipal low-income units and 40 low-income apartments, all in central locations within the village." (Mike Corbett)

Another really interesting development is that the developers inked a deal to place a Trader Joe's in Covell Village if the project is approved. Pro-Covell Village individuals claim this is a great opportunity to get one of the most desired stores to come to town. Anti-Covell Village folks think that Davis could attract a Trader Joe's without Covell Village and cite evidence of Trader Joe's investigation into a Davis location that has existed for some time. Covell Village supporters respond that the unique location of Covell Village was most attractive to the Trader Joe's corporation. —PhilipNeustrom


2005-10-06 14:29:44   I've been hit twice by the Yes on X people. They have slick brochures and printed newspapers. Someone's going to make a lot of money if this passes, and it ain't us! For the residents, we get air pollution, traffic, more cars and fewer bikes (yes -more cars automatically means fewer bikes), higher sewer costs, etc. These people will not be university students, so this changes the 'character' of the town too. As far as "affordable", don't make me gag. How many of us could buy a home there? This whole thing is all about money for the developers, and nothing at all about what would actually benefit our community. Remember, it was the developers who proposed it -it's not as if we all got together and said "let's plow under that field and put apartments there" to make Davis a nicer place. —SteveDavison


2005-10-06 15:08:22   It's not really less bikes. I don't think they'll start taking and hiding peoples bikes. It's not necessarily that horrible for the town though - I mean, there’s more then just developers. Think of all the massive tax money that will be coming in, not just from the construction and possible new shops but from the influx in population - a whole lot could be done. It would also fare very well for most of the businesses in the town. I think I saw something about a school or two as well? It is growth and development yes, but there are positives in it too. It's inevitable that the city of Davis will change. Be it more students or more families moving here, you can't keep it as a small town with a farm school forevah. Some people think it's a little arrogant to spend four years here and then decide that is the best time and way to keep it. I work with people who graduated from UCD in the 60's, and they can't believe how much the town has changed. I don't think the term suburban wasteland need necessarily apply either. If it's well planned, it can work. You can keep it well spaced, keep parks and green space without being forcibly obvious and surrounded by roads. I think Danville in the east bay area is a good example of that. Or the newer parts of San Ramon in the hills. The problem for that stuff comes down to how most of core Davis wasn't well planned for much growth. Hence stuff like the crappy intersection. The point of it isn't affordable housing for college students either. I see a lot of houses being completely remodeled and rennovated around town. I'm sure that's also pretty expensive, but there are people who can/do shell out the money for a bigger or newer house (instead of one built anywhere from 10 to 50 years ago). Maybe some people just want a more "respectable" neighborhood away from places students can rent, something nice and new in a great place like Davis. Or people working in Sac who just love Davis, but can afford bigger/(potentially) nicer houses. I don't think the prices are absolutely crazy outrageous for Davis though. Especially for families wanting to come in from more expensive places. Likewise, I may not like the prices I have to pay for an apartment here, but I damn sure appreciate it once I visit friends at UCLA and see what they have to pay. But ever go out on Mace to the Country Club? Driven through it? There are tons of homes in the millions. Really nice ones too. I saw just a single one of them on a listing downtown for 1.75 million. 1.75 million. And it wasn't even for the biggest and newest of those. I don't know enough about the entire issue, but just wanted to throw out way too many quick observations/comments from glancing at everyone elses. -ES


2005-10-06 15:52:38   "sad that they've resorted to canvassing the streets" and "hit twice by the Yes on X people"? I would be so glad if that's how poliitical campaigns were generally run. An effective canvassing operation requires lots of people who believe in something enough to make an effective argument for it - so it's a much less money-biased way for campaigns to be run. (Yes someone could hire lots of people to canvass, but they won't be effective.) A democracy works on the free exchange of ideas, and this doesn't only mean letting people say what they want - it also means citizens need to listen fairly to those they might disagree with. I know Davis is far too big for this, but i would feel sooo much more comfortable if this was decided in a town meeting where people would feel a small amount of shame about voting without having heard a good chunk of the debate, and maybe some attempts at compromise to be made, and the whole thing could be tabled for a few months for more discussions if there was a lot of disagreement. This comment should not be construed as an argument for or against the measure, but merely as an observation about how we think about our democracy. —AlexanderWoo


2005-10-09 08:37:50   Now that I've had time to look more deeply into this project my feelings have changed. The arguments which are being talked about aren't the important ones, just the knee-jerk emotional ones. Many things are beyond the developer's control, such as "affordability". No matter who does what, they're still going to be 'unaffordable' because they hit market rate which in Davis is 'unaffordable'. We all want something for nothing, but alas... So the real question is what's good for the community -and what are our options. 1. Leave it as farm land (but for how long?), 2. Split it into individual lots and sell individually for people to build homes on, 3. Have a planned development -and what type (Village Homes or Mace Ranch)? Davis is growing 1.8% (or such) per year, regardless. If that is the case, then the issue becomes what kind of growth -planned or unplanned (as a division). People don't buy lots and build their own houses like in the old days, so that is probably unrealistic. Looking at the plans and talking with Mike directly I've decided that it really is as good as one can get for a planned development. I was fascinated to hear that Village Homes had 'enormous' opposition to its creation too. Now I believe that if this fails, there will just be more 'stupid structures' instead and a great opportunity will have been lost. Mike said something like 'if this fails, I'm going somewhere people will actually appreciate my work'. Now I believe the choice isn't between growth or no-growth, but between a 'green' type division and a 'concrete' type division. "It's become about 'winning', not about what's best for Davis" —SteveDavison


2005-10-09 21:21:42   What is missing from the comments of opponents of Covell Village is a rational alternative. While many of the negatives that they point out — such as traffic problems, pollution, etc — have merit, they really don't offer a better choice. After all, Covell Village looks like an extremely nice neighborhood to live in. It has more open space and more ammenities than any other neighborhood in town. And Davis is going to grow over the next decade — we have an agreement with [WWW]SACOG that we will grow by 250 houses a year, which is 70 more units a year than Covell Village adds. So the question that must be asked of opponents is this: if not in Covell Village, where do you propose adding the 1,864 units that will be built, plus the other 636 houses we have agreed to? And what will the development of the houses and neighborhoods you propose cause in terms of traffic and so on? It is mindless to just think that the rejection of Covell Village will mean that Davis will not grow any more. —RichRifkin


2005-10-10 09:25:12   TCO of Solar Power is more than double that of coal or nuclear, and as such, it is in several ways worse to use solar than to pull power from the grid. —KennethWaters


2005-10-10 09:36:36   Does anyone have a copy of the Eviromental Impact Report? —KennethWaters


2005-10-10 12:09:01   As a future neighbor of Covell Village (live across pole line from it), I would consider voting no if it were possible to build infill development in Davis without Lawsuits. People say Trader Joes will come, I disagree unless they are in a new devleopment. There is no exisiting space in Davis suitable for them. —RocksandDirt


2005-10-10 12:45:00   "where do you propose adding the 1,864 units that will be built, plus the other 636 houses we have agreed to?" Knee-jerk response, without much thought except some calculation as to how to get to 2000 units: raise downtown (meaning say between C and H and 1st and 5th) to a uniform height of 7 stories, and a few neighboring blocks by a couple of stories (keeping the parks). Negate the traffic problems by putting a deed restriction against registering a car at the address. Put in better public transportation (which can come close to paying for itself from fares) around Davis and also to Sacramento and the Bay Area for these people to use. —AlexanderWoo


2005-10-10 23:38:03   By the way... I am new to this site. How do I make my comments appear as a response to a specific poster? —RichRifkin


2005-10-12 04:39:55   There has been an ad circulating around this week that's clearly student-targeted. It states that "If you want to live in a cutting edge, solar-powered neighborhood with new entertainment options and affordable housing for students, then Covell Village is for you." The design of the advertisement is clearly geared toward students, as well. The back lists, among other items, "Affordable Housing" and under that it states that "Covell Village will be the only place in Davis where students can qualify for affordable housing." What is going on here? Covell Village is not intended to be student housing, as far as I know, and all debate on the project has centered around other topics. I think they are using the phrase "affordable housing" in a technical sense, in that you get tax breaks, etc? What do they mean it's the only place students can qualify? Do they mean it's the only place where students can get some slack if they want to purchase a home? Can someone please elaborate on what they mean by affordable housing for students? (Buying a house is never an affordable option for a student unless they have a parent willing to throw in and buy it then rent it out once they're gone, etc). —PhilipNeustrom


2005-10-12 12:28:59   Covell Village is going to be built immediately adjacent to the old Yolo County landfill. When that thing lets off gas, it smells like death. —NikolaiBraun

2005-10-13 10:28:59   Trader Joe's has made it clear that they did not want to move in to any of Davis' vacant spaces, but they were already in discussions with two new shopping areas about coming.

Alhambra Center which has not been approved yet: [WWW]http://www.cityofdavis.org/ed/projects/view.cfm?project=7D77E894-E2C9-4AD3-B7C71236AA56771F

And the Interland project which has been approved and is nearing the construction phase. [WWW]http://www.cityofdavis.org/ed/projects/view.cfm?project=1B295616-FC73-47C4-BABCF816468E6187&tab=3

Covell Village just went in an gave them a deal they could not refuse. Trader Joe's has said previously that the 8th street vacant space was too far from the freeway, yet Covell is even further. It just shows how desperate the Covell Village people are to entice votes. If they had confidence in their project they would not need to 'sweeten the pot' to buy more votes... —BrianSolecki


2005-10-13 21:22:59   You know why I'm against Covell Village? I love Davis. I want to live here forever, but I doubt I'll ever be able to afford to buy a home here. I resent that the new homes always have to be rediculously expensive and I resent that the only people that will be able to afford them are people commuting to Sacramento. —AnnaJones


2005-10-14 12:25:54   Hi Ya'll. Just wanted to make sure people know that the chart above is NOT correct in terms of housing prices. It was created by the No on X people. This project was innovatively designed to avoid sprawl like we are seeing elsewhere. Thus, many of the units are high-density townhomes that are really unique and cool, placed on wildlife habitat with great views, etc. They are the kind of high-density low-cost housing that I would love to live in! It's funny, in this campaign, it is the No side that is manipulating so many of the numbers. They say the average house will be 700k, but for some reason they took out all affordable housing for people who make less than $40K/year make in their figures. They also used future calculations assuming 5%/year appreciation. Ten years ago, $300K for an average house would have sounded ridiculously high, so why are they using future figures? That is the kind of thing that makes me wonder: if NO on X people are so sure of their stance, why manipulate people so much?

Affordable housing in Covell will start at $198K (144 townhomes for families, seniors and individuals starting at $198K and averaging about $267K) Only 52% of the housing in Covell Village has no restriction on price. I'm working on getting the chart above taken off this site, and there will probably be something in the Enterprise soon about this bc No on X is using it at their tables around town. —DavidFisher

I have posted above the info upon which the table is based. The 2005 prices, buildout schedule, and assumption about house price appreciation are all taken directly from the City's [WWW]fiscal analysis, and the assumption that first homes are sold in 2008 is taken from a statement by Ted Puntillo at City Council during the vote on the project in June.

To be explicit, here's the spreadsheet:
A thumbnail or caption may be displayed only once per image.

If house prices don't continue to grow at 5% a year, the fiscal analysis shows that the City will lose millions of dollars.


2005-10-14 12:49:34   The affordable/unaffordable debate is a red herring. No, they won't be affordable. But then NO HOMES there will be. If one instead thinks, "If I could design it, what would it be like?" Then you may conclude that it really is quite good as designed. What would make it better, really? —SteveDavison


2005-10-14 19:32:16   Well, it's not the "Davis ideal", but I have to say that the plans for Covell Village are impressive. They are far more thoughful and interesting than what you see in the quickly-developing urban sprawl to the east and south of Sacramento. Is it ideal for Davis? Well, I think the debate about impact on resources is somewhat askew since infill housing will be built which would cause similar stresses on existing infrastructure. Some people are concerned about the traffic impact, but I think it might have an interesting effect of causing less of a traffic impact on Downtown as this housing would be convenient to new business developements near South Davis. (Most people are worried about downtown it seems.) Anyway, it's a close call, but I think Measure X is a winner in the long haul. —JaimeRaba


2005-10-14 19:55:32   A family living in Covell village needs a car, and that already makes it unaffordable to a lot of people. Let's face it - the only ways to make affordable housing around here are (a) build housing so crappy no one wants to live there or (b) add a million (i'm exaggerating less than you think) units between Sacramento and Santa Cruz. Anything else will either see (a) homes become unaffordable on resale or (b) corruption running the sale of below-market units or (c) homes and neighborhoods degrade as people decide not to invest in them. You have to make the market work for society, not fight it. FYI, i prefer the million units approach, with taxpayer subsidized construction if necessary. —AlexanderWoo


2005-10-15 10:35:43   I think Covell Village is going to provide "upgrade housing" for small families — normally with at least one professional, or perhaps dual-incomes. I have a suspicion that people will move—for example—from Central Davis, and into Covell Village. This will free up less expensive housing options for those who need it. Honestly, as unaffordable as houses are said to be in Davis, they're really spread across the spectrum. However, there's limited availability so there's not much room for movement. This should at least cause some of that to happen. —JaimeRaba


2005-10-16 15:25:19   Personally, i liked the [WWW]light rail option... —ArlenAbraham


2005-10-19 17:35:09   Yeah, because i want MORE annoying yuppie families living in my town...GREAT! —TheRadish


2005-10-20 07:56:19   My completely unofficial and insignifcant poll/observation of homes on my walk to work this morning yielded 12 "No-on-X" Lawn signs and two "Yes-on-X" lawn signs. —BrianSolecki


2005-10-20 11:51:10   I know it sounds like pie in the sky, but light rail is an awesome idea. And if it could somehow connect with Sacramento's rail... —JaimeRaba


2005-10-20 16:30:55   I dunno, they cluster. In my view, the yes signs far outnumber the "no" signs. And there's been some commentary about these signs appearing in public spaces in apartment complexes. —JaimeRaba


2005-10-22 15:07:22   Survey of 153 houses: 94 No | 59 Yes. See Map. cv2.jpgSurvey of 153 houses in Central DavisDylanBeaudette

Comments re: the Yolo County Supervisors plans to approve the Guidaro Development and three Yolo County Supervisors assurances there are no plans to approve development per the "Pass Through Agreement:
* Actually, I'm pretty sure that you're wrong on this one... The County CAN vote in development outside the borders. The County can unilaterally void the "Pass through Agreement" by giving up the million or so bucks it receives from the City- chump change compared to how much they'd get from development taxes. In order to receive grant money from larger government entities, Davis must grow at a .9% rate per year, something they wouldn't be doing without a development such as Covell Village or the other proposed Mace Curve. TL

Note: The following comment I believe can defined as hate speech and has little value to the voters who are trying to sort out this issue. It was removed once, because after weighing the comment against defined wiki ethics, it was deemed to violate multiple points, but the writer has posted it again after calling the person who removed it a derogatory and offensive name. I will leave it up for now to see if there is consensus on removing it. Note to the Davis wiki community: If you want a wide variety of contributors, this kind of hateful communication shouldn't be a part of the Davis wiki. There is a more mature ways of communicating the same idea. Anyway, here it is:

2005-10-23 18:28:07   The only people opposing this are the fatcats who don't want their already bloated bubble homes to lose value. Screw them. And screw the hippies who have been unwittingly recruited to their cause. —ApolloStumpy


2005-10-26 09:38:42   Here is a link to Gerald Heffernon's column in the Davis Enterprise on Oct. 25: [WWW]Jerry's column. This is about as incisive and unemotional anti-Covell Village argument that I've heard. —PaulThober


2005-10-29 18:12:33   Sort of an interesting article at [WWW]http://www.californiaaggie.com/article/?id=11171 -it suggests that the battle isn't Covell Developers vs. Citizens, but rather, Covell Developers vs. Mace Ranch Developers. This suggests a corporate No-on-X motive. —SteveDavison


2005-10-29 19:19:07   And gee, that's exactly what I was saying and then my comment got deleted. Oh, so has the Sierra Club given any good non kneejerk reasons to oppose X given that it meets its own guidelines? —ApolloStumpy


2005-10-30 10:15:50   OK, so our Pro section says this: Covell Village meets the Sierra Clubs own smart growth guidelines. The Sierra Club site says: Covell Village, though touted to be smart growth, is anything but. So which is it? —ApolloStumpy


2005-10-31 10:38:59   Do people realize that one of the key people involved in the Sierra Club owns a big piece of land that he wants to develop on the border of West Davis. It probably won't happen for 17 years if Covell passes. In addition, the whole "flood plain" thing is manipulation. After grading, the project will be completely protected. Much of the City of Davis was on flood plain too. By the way, there is a letter going out from Sierra Club MEMBERS who do not agree with their board. —SamToomey


Breaking news! The Yes on Measure X members were caught red-handed giving out "Free slice of Pizza for your vote!" at the UCD polling station on Thursday, Oct. 31. During the investigation following, it was determined that an active Yes on Measure X campaign team member had wormed his way in as a "judge" for the polling station. County Clerk, Freddie Oakley, shut the illegal activity down and removed the "judge." It's time to vote, folks. —SharlaDaly


2005-11-01 15:48:00   Last afternoon, around 4:30pm there was a woman holding a sign at the intersection of Covell and Pole Line telling people to vote no on X due to traffic concerns (I think it mentioned something like 20 million cars). Another woman (or possibly the same one?) was there again this morning at 7:30ish holding the same sign. —AlexPomeranz

People have been out on Pole Line and Covell with signs for almost a week. Several signs claim an additional 22,000 trips by car on Pole Line daily. While this may be true, it seems like an awful lot for the number of units that are going to be built in Covell Village. MC


There are things I don't like about CV, and I certainly haven't decided to vote for it, but I wish the people who knock it for not including enough 'affordable' housing would be more specific about what they want. Housing in Davis is ridiculously priced already. Do you know how hard it is to find a stand-alone house for less than $400k? A halfplex under $350k? How do these people want the new housing to be made affordable? Should there be more condos? More apartments? Smaller houses? Rent control? Simply claiming that things aren't 'affordable' isn't a valid criticism when prices are already this high.—MattCzarnowski


2005-11-01 17:13:35   The Davis Community Network has campaign finance reports for Measure X at [WWW]http://www2.dcn.org/dcn/vip/nov05/measurex/SteveMcMahon


2005-11-01 17:57:53   I find the Yes on X campus advertising blitz the be a little repulsive. While I'm likely to vote yes, I don't need, nor want free pizza or sexual advertising. Campus is covered with attractive students who are being payed to promote the Covell project. The girls with the pink "Divas for Covell Village" shirts really turn me off. —JackHaskel


2005-11-01 20:42:18   I think the pro-X marketing to students is just insulting. Anybody who looks into the matter can see that Covell Village isn't "good for students" and isn't meant to be. In the first place, STUDENTS DON'T HAVE MONEY TO BUY HOUSES. So all the on-campus skullduggery and the flyers (two of which were left at my own front door in Casitas Apts.) are pretty much straigh up dishonesty. —KenjiYamada


2005-11-01 21:19:33   Has anyone else taken the time to look at the campaign disclosures that Steve McMahon posted a link to? Covell Village Partners had spent $111,000 on the campaign. Today (11/1/2005) they disclosed that they have put another $100,000 in the campaign pot. Be prepared for an onslaught of advertising. Capital Campaigns has had job postings on craigslist for months looking for campaign workers in Davis and paying them $10 plus an hour. Their only current client in Davis is Covell Village Partners. Ask these girls who are wearing the shirts if they are registered to vote in Yolo County and how much they are being paid to be walking advertisements. —SharlaDaly


2005-11-01 21:28:32   $20/hour...wow...that's more than most UCD administrative staff make. Isn't this the same as buying votes? I wonder how many more people $100,000 can "hire" for the next weeK? —SharlaDaly


2005-11-02 05:51:34   Because I've been called up by the Yes-on-X folks, and I read they are virtually trading pizza for votes, I've decided to vote no, despite the two buck chuck that I will never get to enjoy because it won't be here in time to affect me. —KarlMogel


2005-11-04 09:07:53   Did anyone else receive this completely insulting "Are you a tool or what?" postcard from the No on X people? It implies that I would vote "yes" only because I was told to by "the same guys who own half the apartment complexes in Davis". Actually, I am an intellegent adult who has read up on the issue and formed my own opinion, thank you. And "half the apartment complexes in Davis"??? I was not aware that there were only 26 apartment complexes in all of Davis. Tandem only owns 13 complexes in Davis, hardly half. I also like that the message ends with "fyi-the Cal Aggie says Vote No on X". Does that make me the Aggie's "tool" if I vote no? Thanks No on X for calling me a tool. I really appreciate it! —PeterMarleau


2005-11-07 13:31:52   Well, now that both sides have engaged in rather questionable advertising practices, I guess I can make a value judgement. The "No on X" campaign listed CalPIRG as an opponent of Prop 73, which, personal opinions aside, is just not true. They never took a position on this. It's just not their bag of bananas.


2005-12-12 18:47:25   I don't think some of you understand what the supply and demand curve. As students worried about housing, you should be praising the creators of CV. And increase in housing supply leads to a decrease in demand. Thus, even though the housing in CV may be too expensive, the market will correct itself. The problem with Davis and the housing here is that the vacancy rate is so much smaller than any other city. Woodland has a higher rate, thus they cannot charge as much for housing, because they are desperate to get people into their apartments. If there was more housing in Davis (regardless of price) the vacancy rate would increase and apartment complexes would be desperate to have spots filled. That's why this year more than any other complexes were giving away free rent or an xbox or some incentive. Vacancy rates have been increasing; CV would have done a lot for housing in Davis. Regardless of whether you ended up there or not, the rates for every other complex would go down in order to compete. Also, those of you complaing about them advertising to students when students won't even be able to afford homes there, perhaps you should read the plans. They are also building many apartments and cooperative housing. That sounds like housing perfect for students if you ask me. And personally, I'd love to live within a few blocks of a Trader Joe's. —JennySoares

This is a Wiki Spot wiki. Wiki Spot is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that helps communities collaborate via wikis.